Although it is the plan to delve into other types and quantities of livestock here on the farm, a few laying hens seemed like the easiest way to get my feet wet. Over the course of two days, I built a small chicken tractor (movable coop) almost completely out of scrape lumber from around the farm. All I had to purchase was the chicken wire, wheels, and feeders.....and of course the chickens. Once the tractor was complete, I couldn't wait to put something in it. So, thanks to a tip from Mecca & Adam (see Turtle Bend Farm's blog), I drove to Hiram Georgia and picked out two Rhode Island Red pullets and two Buff Orphington pullets. As they are only about three months old, I probably won't see any eggs until early fall, and then only for a short time before they stop for winter.
Hopefully, this summer, I will also be able to construct a simple enclosure to raise some broiler chicks. I'd like to do just enough to fatten up and put in the freezer to get through the winter not buying any store-bought chicken. By next spring, the plan is to build and fill several large movable coops to house several hundred, free-ranging meat chickens. For now, the plan is to get one or two more laying hens (probably barred rock) and a rooster for the tractor and build them some sort or larger perimeter fence in which to range.